Research Reveals Best Way to First Contact a Prospect

BY Jessica Helinski
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It’s no secret that top-​performing sales reps do things differently than others in the industry. Thankfully, recent insights shed some light on the tactics of top performers, as well as what buyers want during that first contact. A recent infographic by the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research reveals how you can adapt your own strategy to better connect with leads.

One way top performers stand out is their ability to connect with buyers. But, it can be difficult to know just what makes a buyer agree to that first meeting. RAIN’S research revealed that the following content has the biggest influence on buyers’ willingness to connect:

  • Primary research data relevant to their business (cited by 69%)
  • Descriptions of the seller’s capabilities (67%)
  • Content 100% customized to their specific situation (67%)
  • Insight on the use of products/​services to solve business problems (66%)
  • Best practice methodology based on the seller’s area of expertise (65%)

And the best way to get this information to the buyer? A custom message is key. According to the report, 80% of buyers prefer to be contacted via email. And, “buyers want emails that pertain to their company and industry. Spend time customizing your emails for a more effective strategy.”

Approximately 31% of sellers say they send one to two personalized emails after doing their research to ensure the messages are effective. Those efforts pay off, as 77% of buyers have responded favorably to an email from a seller within the past 12 months.

Cold calls can also be an effective means to a meeting, and again, doing research prior to picking up the phone is vital to success. Buyers are receptive to cold sales calls: More than two-​thirds have accepted a cold call in the past 12 months. The report makes it clear that phone calls are still the most effective prospecting tactic, but that aforementioned custom message matters. “Only a small subset of sellers has good telephone prospecting skills,” RAIN reports. “Build yours and you’ll see more success.”

It’s clear that sellers are ready to listen to buyers and, most importantly, to schedule an initial meeting. But it’s up to the seller to be prepared with a personalized pitch ready, whether it’s delivered by email or telephone.